Football news - Republic of Ireland respond to Welsh woes with creditable draw against Denmark
Group B League 4, Aviva Stadium - Ireland 0 Denmark 0
Denmark missed their talisman Christian Eriksen as they were held to a goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin.
Republic of Ireland v DenmarkReuters
Jeff Hendrick could have controversially given the hosts the lead inside five minutes when he carried on playing despite Denmark stopping due to an injury to Harry Arter, but the Burnley midfielder fired wide.
Denmark ended the opening period strongly as Pione Sisto struck the foot of the post with a curling shot on the stroke of the interval, and the Celta Vigo winger blazed over when well-placed 10 minutes into the second-half.
Arter then did well to keep the scores level when he cleared Simon Kjaer's powerful header off the line after 58 minutes, with Ireland’s best chance of sealing all three points falling to Cyrus Christie, but his shot was comfortably saved by Kasper Schmeichel.
In the third minute of injury-time Shane Duffy thought he'd won a penalty when he fell under pressure from Henrik Dalsgaard, but the referee issued the Brighton defender a yellow card for simulation.
In the end, however, Ireland - playing their first competitive match at home since their 5-1 thrashing by the Danes in the World Cup qualification play-off last November - will be the happier side with the point.
Republic of Ireland’s Harry Arter made a goal-line clearance in the second half PA Sport
Ireland return to basics, but at what cost? Having conceded an eye-watering 14 goals in their previous six matches manager O'Neill had to take drastic action. His solution was to operate with a back-three, which was more like a deep five when defending. The result was a more coherent defensive performance; the sacrifice was any kind of attacking threat. Will he stick or twist when Wales come to town?
MAN OF THE MATCH
Thomas Delaney (Denmark): The man with the Irish sounding name, and how Ireland wish they had him. The Dortmund man controlled the tempo in midfield, spraying balls all around the park and generally looking dangerous.
5' - HENDRICK MISSES! Dear me, what a chance for Ireland but in extraordinary circumstances. Arter goes down injured in midfield and credit to Denmark for surrendering possession. What cheek from Hendrick, though, as he nips in and is afforded a one-on-one chance with the goalkeeper just to beat, but he slots the ball wide of the post. Denmark are absolutely fuming with the hosts for playing on.
45' - IRELAND SAVED BY THE POST! Sisto drops his shoulder and cuts inside to narrow the angle before firing a shot from the edge of the box. Randolph is beaten but the ball crashes against the post and goes out of play. Denmark finish the first-half strongly.
59' - OFF THE LINE! A menacing Denmark corner is swung in and it's Arter who is on the post to clear Kjaer's goal-bound glancing header!
90'+2 - FLASHPOINT! Duffy goes down inside the box under pressure from Dalsgaard and Ireland appeal for a penalty... It's not given, the referee books the defender for a dive! Questionable decision, really questionable.
- Ireland are now without a win in four competitive games (D2 L2), with three of those matches coming against Denmark (D2 L1).
- Denmark goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel has kept a clean sheet in eight of his last 10 appearances for the national team.
- Shane Long has found the net in just one of his last 19 appearances, scoring against Moldova in a World Cup qualifier in October 2016.